Screen Junkies » Detention Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sat, 13 Dec 2014 01:22:56 +0000 en hourly 1 7 High School Horror Films Tue, 24 Jul 2012 14:24:20 +0000 Wookie Johnson That's some good teen slaying.

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The insane genre-bending horror-comedy Detention is headed to DVD on July 31st. Directed by Torque-apologist Joseph Kahn, the story centers on the students of Grizzly Lake High School. A masked killer named Cinderhella is on the loose killing off members of the student body. Believing the killer to be one of his students, the principal rounds up the likely suspects and sentences them to an all-day detention to avoid that day’s prom from turning into a massacre.

This bloody take on The Breakfast Club has inspired us to take a look at the great high school horror films of our time. As if school wasn’t bad enough without people getting shot, stabbed, eaten, possessed, hit by buses, or a combination of all of those.

The Craft

A girl with a troubled past moves to a town where she befriends a clique of three girls who happen to dabble in the occult. The four begin casting spells together which brings them unimaginable power. However, power corrupts and soon Fairuza Balk goes totally psycho just witching the crap out of everyone. It’s like Mean Girls with lightning fingers.


Another high school horror that deals with the subject of popularity and social hierarchy, Heathers goes to some dark places. When a prank leads to the accidental death of the school’s Queen Bee, it’s believed to be a suicide. Before you know it, everyone wants to get in on this teenage suicide craze. This film features one of the first appearances of Christian Slater, who America would fall for as the crazed, kill-happy mastermind behind it all.

Jennifer’s Body

Diablo Cody‘s follow-up to Juno is a far cry from teenage pregnancy and lost youth. The story centers around Megan Fox’s Jennifer, a high school student (yeah, right) sacrificed to a demon. Not one to let hot teen ass go to waste, the demon possesses her and uses her form to seduce and eat the boys in her class. Largely underrated, the film was poorly-received by critics and girls who aren’t as pretty as Megan. But it gave us some genuinely memorable scares and scenes. And this picture:

Thumbs up.

The Faculty

A mix of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Breakfast Club, The Faculty centers on six students discovering that their school is being taken over by alien invaders. The unlikely allies (nerd, jock, Goth, hot girl, hick, and rebel) team up to save not only themselves but Earth itself. Starring Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett. Remember him?

Final Destination

Though we don’t see any action in the halls of the high school, Final Destination tries to take us along with a group of students on their senior trip to Paris. Tries being the key word. Before their flight disembarks, a student has a premonition that the plane will explode, killing them all. He fights his way off the plane, inadvertently taking a few others with him. Moments later, the plane actually explodes. From there, the survivors find they are being stalked by death as they are killed in the most grisly and random accidents. The film has spurred four sequels. Some good, some insultingly bad. But all feature completely gnarly death scenes for all of the gore hounds.


The instant classic that brought horror back to the box office, for better or worse. This sly, self-referential slasher film kept us guessing and screaming with intense scares and hidden motives. In addition to carving up students at Woodsboro High, the film also carved up and dissected the horror genre itself by laying out and then subverting the rules of Hollywood horror filmmaking. Scream is arguably one of the most important and influential films of the 90′s.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

If high school horror were a contest, Wes Craven‘s original A Nightmare on Elm Street would be the clear winner. Students experiencing vivid nightmares featuring the same burn-covered ghoul discover that when they die in their dream, they die in real life. Pulled into a nightmarish wonderland, it’s a fight for survival and sanity as buried secrets refuse to stay that way. And then there were all those hokey sequels, but hey, whatevs.

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SXSW: Joseph Kahn Talks ‘Detention’ And The Failure Of ‘Torque’ Fri, 25 Mar 2011 22:52:46 +0000 Col. Longshanks He admits 'Torque' was his fault.

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Detention is totally my kind of movie, with tons of references and meta structure going layer after layer through the narrative. I know other people won’t feel the same way and Joseph Kahn knows it too. He explained to the audience at a SXSW screening that he made Detention for the generation that now consumes culture and entertainment by multitasking on their computers, phones and social groups.

Kahn stepped outside the theater as the next screening piled in so we could talk privately about Detention. He actually remembered my review of Torque back in 2004. If only I’d known I made an impact, I wouldn’t have missed out on all this quality time with Joseph. But we can make up for it now as I hope you’ll follow Detention to a wide theatrical release.

Q: Is this a multitasking movie?

Joseph Kahn: It’s definitely a multitasking movie. That’s why it’s multi-genre, multi-emotions, multi-color, multi-everything. It’s made for a new sensibility that is more modern.

Q: Some people lament that we’re losing a relaxed form of focus. Are you exploring a positive side of it?

JK: Yeah, it’s out there. We’ve been trained, especially the younger generation, to process imagery so differently than an older generation, and unfortunately people that are in their 30s and 40s are a part of a previous generation of processing.

Q: I’m 33, I’m hanging in there.

JK: You’re hanging in there, absolutely. I think babies are born with a cell phone now. The funny thing is, I think that film bloggers like you are always going to be young at heart. You have an unfair advantage over every 31-year-old guy out there or 33-year-old or whatever because you’re wired into it. So I think someone like you can appreciate a movie like this on a much more natural level than a lot of people.

Q: Could it get any more meta than we are now? What could the next level of meta possibly be?

JK: No, I think Detention is testing the very end of meta.

Q: I love movies that reference other movies. Why is that such a bad word?

JK: I think it’s because the concept of originality is changing, because imagine growing up in the ‘80s and trying to imagine doing research in the ‘80s. For instance, say you’re a fashion designer in the ‘80s and you want to go and update the bellbottoms or something like that. In order to do that, you’d have to go open up books, buy the books, find the books, go to the library, maybe they don’t have it. It takes a lot of time and a lot of research to go and do that, so essentially, a lot of times what people end up doing is they just sort of start from scratch which is good, but they might end up unconsciously repeating something that someone’s done before. As they say, everything’s been done under the sun. Now with the internet, today if a fashion designer goes and decides to update the bellbottom, they can say bellbottom and click on a million websites. You can have a million files at your fingertips and they’ll know exactly if they’re going to make an accidental reference or not. I think that now whenever you have creativity, the reason why there’s so much referencing going on is we as the consumer have a longer memory of pop culture because we’re connected to. On top of it, the filmmakers then have to be very aware of what they know.

Q: What do you anticipate for the ‘90s nostalgia movement?

JK: I think ‘90s nostalgia is inevitable because the people that grew up in the ‘90s are going to miss it, period. And there’s a lot of people that grew up in the ‘90s. The ‘80s came in when the consumer was people that grew up in the ‘80s and were making a sh*tload of money and they wanted to buy their products. They had the income to spend on things like that. Well, you know what? Those people that grew up in the ‘90s are now getting to an age where they can start spending money because they’re making an income. They’ll want to relive their childhood too. That’s what it comes down to.

Q: How did Hollywood treat you after Torque?

JK: Oh, they hated me.

Q: Why? Even if it didn’t do well, you just made a movie.

JK: Because I did the cardinal sin. I fought really hard for my ideas. Here’s the reality of Torque. We all know that a lot of people didn’t like that movie. I personally liked it, I know other people did but the parts that everybody thought were bad, you can’t blame the studio. Those were the parts that I fought for. The 70% of the movie that people think are bad is the 70% I like about the movie, the kung f fighting, the humor, the super bright colors, the chase on a train, the frickin’ 300mph chase and all that hyper reality. That’s what I wanted to make. I wanted to make that over the top winking piss take of a movie and it failed. I realized many, many years later the reason why it failed is because I think it was a wonderful piece of creativity, but what’s the market for a Japanese animation Ice Cube biker flick with a meta message? Nobody.

Q: Haven’t the Fast and Furious movies gotten there at this point?

JK: I think eight years later after Torque, I think things are going more in that direction obviously. It seems like a lot more movies are more hyper real anyways but maybe I just put it out too early. Whatever, that’s not the reason why I didn’t work. There’s two reasons. One is that I fought so hard and got in so many fights with the studio, I became difficult and quite frankly, I’m always going to be that way. That’s just the way I operate. I’m sorry, I can’t change myself. The second thing is that I purposefully, and no one will believe this, I didn’t want to fuckin’ do another movie. I had such a rotten experience. I didn’t want to spend two years of my life getting kicked around and bitched at and fuckin’ blamed for everything and then no one even fuckin’ respects what I do at the end of the day. And I make a shit load more money fuckin’ doing commercials and music videos anyway.

Q: What I love about movies is the Neal Moritz movies exist, you bust your ass for this and they’re all there.

JK: Look, I like Neal movies too and I like all sorts of movies. I just don’t want to make them. I’m a consumer and I’m glad that these movies exist and I consume everything, but the reality is the reason why I made this movie is because I literally wanted to see this movie for myself. I didn’t see it out there. It was an itch that I wanted to scratch and since no one else was going to make it, I just spent my own money and made it myself.

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SXSW Review: Detention Wed, 16 Mar 2011 16:06:09 +0000 Fred Topel Detention is the ultimate payoff for the meta movement.

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I love meta. “Moonlighting” was probably my first exposure to breaking the fourth wall as a kid. Then movies like The Player and Scream came out theatrically before I went back and discovered Woody Allen. Now we live in a world of Charlie Kaufman and “Community,” and I think Detention is the ultimate payoff for the meta movement.

Riley (Shanley Caswell) believes she’s being stalked by the killer of a film series within the film called Cinderhella. Clapton (Josh Hutcherson) is studying Road House to prepare for a fight with Billy (Parker Bagley). Cheerleader Ione even says she’s typecast, and can you guess who she’s named after?

Already the characters are making references, and I love that. I feel rewarded for knowing what they’re talking about, but I feel like I know more about them by what they’ve watched in their lives. Self-referential horror gets an update when they show a clip from Cinderhella and it’s all torture porn with a religious morality. A work print of Cinderhella III they download is several layers of meta.

The references are really under their breath, like Clapton noticing he’s wearing a red shirt at a dangerous time. The story is going on anyway, but there’s room for it. These are also perceptive references. The ‘90s movies were based on a formula that hasn’t been properly addressed yet. Sherlock Moriarty? Brilliant. Or they’re punctuations to scenes. Look, I like references, stop hassling me!

The film treat high school stereotypes as fun, not self-involved tragedy. The backstory for Billy’s rage is a wonderful goofy homage to The Fly, and maybe Videodrome? Ione’s superficiality is a joy, not evil insecurity.

I compare Detention to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I think Scott Pilgrim was the first movie to really create an alternate reality with film. We used to see fantasy movies with puppetry and special effects as our alternate realms. Edgar Wright actually changed the laws of time with the language of film. Cuts and camera moves covered time differently yet we understood it because we’re well versed in film. It made sense but it wasn’t our world.

Joseph Khan does it too. The entire film pays off, but even if he were just including random non-sequiturs about bears and spaceships I would love that. The film ultimately goes back to 1992 to meta it up. There’s such a celebratory spirit to the whole thing, I adore this movie.

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Josh Hutcherson and Dane Cook Get ‘Detention’ Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Almost Spider-Man Josh Hutcherson must really like money. The young actor is teaming up with "almost" Captain America Dane Cook for some sh*tty sounding horror-comedy. Detention, written and directed by Torque autuer Joseph Kahn, "centers on teens who must survive their final year of high school. Standing in their way is a slasher-movie killer who has seemingly come to life." Hmmm, Dane Cook starring in a movie about a copycat. Go figure. (Variety)

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Almost Spider-Man Josh Hutcherson must really like money. The young actor is teaming up with "almost" Captain America Dane Cook for some sh*tty sounding horror-comedy. Detention, written and directed by Torque autuer Joseph Kahn, "centers on teens who must survive their final year on high school. Standing in their way is a slasher-movie killer who has seemingly come to life."

Hmmm, Dane Cook starring in a movie about a copycat. Go figure. (Variety)


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